Could Elon Musk train to beat Mark Zuckerberg in a cage match?

How fast can someone get in shape? Plus: 'Girl dinner', and a very detailed video on what happens when you lift but don't eat. This is Link Letter 93!

Could Elon Musk train to beat Mark Zuckerberg in a cage match?
The training program of "being a liberal propaganda machine" looks like it's payin off! @stylebender

A couple of weeks ago, billionaire Elon Musk challenged billionaire Mark Zuckerberg to a cage match as some kind of extension of their social-platform war. Everyone, including the head of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, decided this was a phenomenal idea. Zuckerberg is famously something like a Brazilian jiujitsu white-belt-with-yellow-stripe of relatively recent mint. Elon’s physical exertion tops out at, presumably, sleeping on a cot in a deserted conference room at Twitter HQ. Reportedly, negotiations are underway to arrange the fight, and Elon is so enraged at the traffic numbers of Facebook’s Twitter competitor Threads that he is considering taking up some form of training in order to not only fight Zuckerberg, but to win.

Though it surely sounds and looks like it, this not merely a stupid beef between two dim coagulating billionaires; it frames a question that comes up sort of often, especially as we slide into summer and all the body awareness drives some of us a little mad. I also already feel each day as if I have jumped timelines and am living on Earth 2, so why not countenance this as if it’s some kind of serious matter: What’s the absolute fastest someone can get into (in this case literal) fighting shape?

As any actor in the Marvel universe will tell you if they are being honest, getting and staying in really good shape is a full-time job. Fortunately for rich people, they are able to do this on easy mode. The rest of us have to figure out what and how much to do in the gym, what and how much to eat, and then carve time out of our busy schedules to somehow get a smidgen of rest. Rich people just hire a personal trainer, a personal chef, fly all of them to some secluded high-altitude location with a fully kitted-out recreational facility, and go at it for as many months as they can personally take. We're talking nothing but chicken breasts and broccoli and rice, two-a-days every day for several hours.

The myths of bodyweight training, part 3
Or, why it’s hard to be hot without being strong (and why it’s a mistake to want to be hot in the first place)

Any honest answer to this question when it comes to rich people (though not one I’d recommend) would involve the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs)—your steroids, your anavar, your HGH, your testosterone, your SARMs. Often people presume that only the hugest of guys are juicing in order to be huge. But PEDs are not just a win button for making you huge. What they do is increase capacity for training volume, and shorten your recovery cycle. This means someone taking them can train more in less time, and get a range of results faster: strength, bigger muscles, or even just leanness (plenty of women fitness influencers who are not huge are on PEDs).

All that means one does still need to train, and a lot. To most people, training a lot and eating a strict diet sucks, even before you reach Marvel levels of effort. Elon has not exactly shown himself to be much of a work-life balance guy; he once asked if ten hours a week was enough to maintain a romantic relationship. I’m not sure Elon has worked out ever, but he does appear to love biohacking.

Go ahead: assume they are on steroids
The bad actors love all the attention. Plus: Kirstie Alley, why you love your AI portraits, and one week til PLATESLAM!! This is Link Letter 65.

But let’s say he was able to ignore the sinking ships of all his businesses and put everything he had into training for a cage match. This brings us to the question of where Mark Zuckerberg is at, and what would be required to catch up to him.

Zuckerberg has a much longer training history, but mostly in running. In the last couple of years, he seemingly started doing more strength training and is an avowed practitioner of Brazilian jiujitsu. He recently entered a beginner-level competition, where he definitely didn’t black out after being placed in a chokehold. He did a modified version of a CrossFit WOD called a Murph. In the last several weeks, he's been posting photos of himself looking quite jacked. (As I've said, it's almost impossible to gauge fitness or health from just looking at anyone's body, but there is slightly more to go on here.)


This is impressive! But in the spirit of any frenzied r/nattyorjuice inquiry, these are not crazy-improbable results, especially for someone with as many resources as a billionaire has. I’d say they are pretty average given the time investment (and, to my eye, a lack of any PEDs); as reddit would say, "natty achievable." Still, that’s a good amount of lead time on Elon, who carried a sink once and is probably still catching his breath.

So, could Elon ever catch up?

If he’s willing to dabble in PEDs, and could somehow manage to put in all the required time and resources—definitely, but it would take a while. It’s tough to put a precise number on it, but a few weeks wouldn’t do it; it’d be closer to a year, at least, than not. If no PEDs—a couple years of training under Zuck’s belt is a long time, and Zuck also has the benefit of being slightly younger. Unless Elon has been hiding some profound genetic athleticism gift all his life, or is a longtime secret practitioner of Krav Maga, he’s probably going to stay two steps behind Zuck.

Anyway, it’s not clear if any of this matters; all it would take is for one person to reply to one of Elon’s tweets saying he thinks Elon shouldn’t do the fight, and Elon would listen. More to the point, Elon does far more talking shit than putting up. Every day is Thumb Day for him, and he seems to like it that way.

It hurts when I do this: A lifter’s practical toolkit for dealing with injury
Dealing with injury, part two.


~Discord Pick of the Week: An extremely good video on what happens when you lift weights but DON’T! EAT! YOUR FOOD! Don’t make me say it again!


Training to shotput the ball for my dog.

I’ve been around long enough to know better than to presume I know of every sport there is, so if you are still somehow operating under that presumption yourself: artichoke throwing.

Runners should lift and lifters should run. Sure. Runners, you can go first. I'll wait :)


Rather upset that I have no iconically short Canadian friends who lift to send this headline to with the text “Heard you got some tough news from the scientists :(”

Nothing upset anyone more than “girl dinner” this week. Girl dinner appears to be basically a charcuterie board, which I thought we already did, save for one source in the article who sounds hopelessly on the wrong page and said it’s cold pizza. I saw at least one person call it an eating disorder, which,,, buddy,,,. Another person said it was basically ploughman’s lunch. A hopelessly British person called it “picky tea.” And then I experienced a very psychedelic time dilation where the world around me spaghettified and I was transported back to 2011 where I remembered reading this post from former Hairpin Editor Jane Marie, where she claims this as “divorcee dinner.”


A good, succinct piece on the week of distressing Keke Palmer/Jonah Hill headlines. The important thing to remember in these cases is not that these men have simply made the understandable mistake of picking incompatible women with whom they are good-naturedly trying to get along; guys like these get off specifically on taking strong women down a peg.

The internet is for 12-year olds.

The sea continues to reclaim what belongs to it: Otter stealing surfboards.

What it takes to exit the Apple ecosystem. The idea of trying to get one’s photos back from iCloud has always been what’s kept me one foot out, and the fact that he actually couldn’t do it…

That’s all for this week! I love you for reading, thank you, let’s go—